Its time to rehash the good ole "Which Cartridge" question - diyAudio
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Old 12th November 2008, 11:50 AM   #1
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Default Its time to rehash the good ole "Which Cartridge" question

Hi Guys.
A funny thing happened to me on the way to the forum... I have been campaigning an Ortofon MC30 with a Neville Roberts designed head amp for some time now and have never been happy with its overall sound as it sounded harsh in some frequencies. I have prototyped about 7 different tube phono preamps and finally settled on a c3g/6sl7 phono stage with passive RIAA as the best sounding phono amp. I protyped and built a 6g6g line amp and rally liked it so I then built my final preamp consisting of the c3g/6sl7 phono and the 6g6g line amp. I had at hand in my geek room an AR tuntable which I fitted with an Audio technica at440ml mm cartridge.. having read the tests, I know the AT440ml has a 2 to 3 db rise in the treble area giving it a somewhat forward sound but due to its microline stylus it gives incredible detail for a mm. My preamp sounded quite good with this cartridge albeit a tad "bright" but it wasnt harsh, just not my cup of tea. So I built a second identical preamp for my "Big" system in the lounge room... hooked it up to the Ortofon and it just sounded let's say.. inferior to the AT440ML. This was quite a surprise to me.
There a are few theories i have.. the first is that the Ortofon has had its day in the suspension compliance department. It is old with an unknown history as It came on a Thorens i bought off ebay.
The second theory is that I havent matched the capacitance and impedance in the Ortofon but given that with all my experimenting with all types of phono preamps, I cant say the Ortofon ever sounded really smooth. Nothing I had tried with all my prototypes had cured the ortofon of its harshness (Yes i tried the input impedance/capacitance thing)
Now I want to try a new Cartridge and the criterion would be the low surface noise of the Ortofon, the midrange timbre of it but the smoothness of the AT 440ml without the upper register increase in frequency response.
So I am thinking of maybe a new Ortofon rhondo bronze or red or maybe the AT OC9 MC cartridge...
Any suggestions? I am running a Thorens TD 125 with an RB300 but soon , I plan to buid an air bearing Lardergaard arm (I think thats how its spelt)
The problem with cartridges of pedigree is the price you pay for a theoretical good performer and the risk that it may suck
All opinions will be greatly appreciated
Many thanks
Nick
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Old 13th November 2008, 12:21 PM   #2
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

I've found messing arround with MC loading near pointless, but
worthwhile for MM's, noting varying the 47K is just as easy as
varying the capacitance. The latest AT440MLa apparently does
not have the treble peak, but this likely depends on loading.

I like Ortofon fine line tipped MC's mainly for the reason the tip
will last ~ twice as long as the ellipticals, so they are cost effective.

I have a MC15SmkII but I suspect the MC25FL might be more suitable.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Ortofon-MC25FL-M...arms=72%3A1234|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318

/sreten.
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Old 3rd December 2008, 10:43 PM   #3
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I don't know if you have solved the "problem",but if you insist on a MC cartridge,I find the Benz ACE very smooth and unforced,also the cheaper MC gold.Both are also available in high output versions.With the Rega arm,both will be a better match than the AT.
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Old 3rd December 2008, 11:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Its time to rehash the good ole "Which Cartridge" question

Quote:
Originally posted by duderduderini
I cant say the Ortofon ever sounded really smooth.
This is quite strange. Alignment issues? It's certainly not loading as it has quite limited effect and not on harshness.

Maybe your cart has a problem.

I have a Kontra B and while it excells at both frequency extremes it's midrange resolution is strangely bland. Overall i prefer a DL103. And its surface noise is remarkably low.
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Old 3rd December 2008, 11:11 PM   #5
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If the MC30 is the original one,with the gold plastic body,then it is really old and the stylus might have worn.Also the suspension might suffer after all these years.
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Old 5th December 2008, 02:56 PM   #6
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Default Ordered a DL160

Hi
I thought I might get a dl160 for now.. strangely enough the at440ML i had sitting around with about 25 hours on it sounded amazing compared to the mc30.. I borrowed another ortofon off a friend I think its the mc15 and it didnt impress me either.. At roughly 1000 dollars a pop I dont feel inclined to experiment with mid range ortofons for now.. The 440mL although not tonaly balanced is at least a lot smoother than the mc30 even though I know there is that classic V shaped equalisation re its frequency response.
The DL160 gets a lot of praise and at 170 US i can afford to gamble on it.
Will let you know how it sounds.. if it ever turns up
Nick
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Old 5th December 2008, 03:48 PM   #7
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I'd suggest ClearAudio Aurum... In my oppinion they're underestimated and therefor underpriced. Clearaudio builds some incredible turntables as well and they use their own headshells in them (Although the Clearaudio Goldfinger might be a little outta range...)
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Old 5th December 2008, 11:50 PM   #8
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Default Which aurum

Hi
I have admired clearaudio products always.. in particular the master reference series of turntables.
I looked up the Aurum cartridges and note there are several models..
Which one do you have and what other cartridges have you had to compare with?
Thanks
Nick
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Old 6th December 2008, 03:27 PM   #9
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I got to know the Aurum Beta in the metal version at a friend's in a Pro-Ject RPM. I admire it, because it doesnt "sound" the record in any specific way, but just transports the pure music very light-hearted and accuratly. When I'll have saved enough money, I'm going to buy the Aurum Beta too, but since I only own a Dual 626 with a ultra light arm, I'm going to buy the satineé version, cause its lighter. Never heard the wood version before though, but it has to have a little suprise in it, doesnt it?
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Old 6th December 2008, 04:32 PM   #10
exurbia is offline exurbia  Australia
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Nick, have you heard an Allnic Verito ? For the price they are a stupendous cartridge.
There is now an Allnic dealer in melbourne, not sure about Synney though.
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